Published On: Sun, Aug 13th, 2023

Hawaii Churches Pray for Maui Wildfire Victims

Hawaii Churches Pray for Maui

Churchgoers in Hawaii wept for the deceased and hoped for the safe return of those still missing on Sunday, as towns began to look forward to a long road to recovery after a wildfire last week destroyed a historic village on Maui and claimed the lives of over ninety people.

Maria Lanakila Church near Lahaina received no damage from the flames that burned out the majority of the surrounding neighborhood; yet, while search-and-recovery activities were still ongoing, its parishioners attended Mass some ten miles along the highway, with the Bishops of Honolulu, the Reverend Clarence “Larry” Silva, presiding over the service. Maria Lanakila Church is located in Lahaina.

According to what Taufa Samisoni has heard, his cousin, aunt, uncle, and the cousin’s son, who was seven years old, were discovered dead inside a burned-out automobile. Katalina, Samisoni’s wife, stated that the family will find solace in Silva’s connection to the Bible tale about how Jesus’ disciple Peter rescued himself from drowning after walking on water.

If Peter was able to do it, then certainly we can too. She spoke with a trembling voice as she promised that we would reach the shore.

During the course of the Mass, Silva delivered a message that had been sent from Pope Francis. In it, the Pope said that he had been praying for individuals who had lost loved ones as well as homes and ways to make a living. Additionally, he extended prayers to those who were on the scene providing aid.

Silva subsequently informed The Associated Press stated everyone is concerned for the children in the area since they have seen tragedy and is now afraid as a result.

Silva believes that it will be to their advantage if they are able to spend as much time as possible in a natural setting with their contemporaries, where they can both learn and have fun.

During this time, the authorities in Hawaii recommended tourists avoid visiting the island of Maui because many hotels were preparing to house evacuees as well as first responders.

According to data provided by the Hawaii Tourist Authority, since it emerged evident on Wednesday that Lahaina had been devastated, around 46,000 citizens and tourists have taken flights out of the Kahului Airport located in West Maui.

In a statement released late on Saturday night, the agency said that in the coming weeks, all of the combined resources along with focus of the federal, state, and county governments, as well as the community of West Maui and the tourist industry, must be devoted to the recovery of citizens who were forced to flee their homes and places of business.

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This is necessary in order to help those residents get their lives back to normal. The other islands of Hawaii should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.

According to statements made by Governor Josh Green, the state will make available 500 hotel rooms to local residents who are being displaced. The Emergency Management Agency of the United States will have access to an additional five hundred rooms at the hotel where they are staying.

According to Green, a number of hotels will keep operating as usual in order to contribute to the maintenance of existing jobs and to maintain the health of the local economy.

The state is interested in collaborating with Airbnb to ensure that residences suitable for renting will be made available to residents of the state. Green has high expectations that the organization will be ready to supply families who have lost their houses with rents for periods ranging from three to nine months.

Green pointed to a map of the region that was labeled “Buildings Damaged during Maui Wildfires Lahaina District” and stated that there was virtually little that remained there.

There was a loss of “an estimated worth of $5.6 billion” as a result of the destruction of more than 2,700 buildings in Lahaina. But more importantly, there are individuals who are suffering, and the administration is continuing efforts to identify them, he added in an interview clip that was released on Sunday.

As the number of confirmed fatalities in and around Lahaina rose to 93, the authorities issued a warning that the search for and identification of the victims remained in its infancy stage. Already, this conflagration has become the deadliest natural disaster to strike the United States in over a century.

As a medical professional, I can tell you that the scene in Maui is one that gives me chills,” Green added. “When those suppliers, the police along with this division, stumble across incidents in houses or businesses, it is very tough for them given that they know, ultimately, that they are going to be communicating with the public that there may have been additional fatalities. This makes it very difficult for them. I do believe that the numbers will continue to climb.

Chief John Pelletier of the Maui Police Department stated on Saturday that search teams equipped with cadaver dogs had only covered 3% of the area being looked over.

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Lylas Kanemoto is keeping her fingers crossed that her cousin Glen Yoshino will be okay no matter what happens.

Because we haven’t heard anything from him, and because he would have found a means to get in touch with his family, I am scared that he is no longer around. Kanemoto stated on Sunday that although we are praying for the best, we are also preparing for the worse. The DNA of family members will be used to assist in the identification of any remains.

The family was suffering from the loss of four other loved ones at the time. The charred bodies of Faaso as well as Malui Fonua Tone, their young daughter Salote Takafua, as well as her son Tony Takafua, were discovered inside of a burned-out automobile. Also found were the bones of Salote’s son, Tony Takafua.

According to Kanemoto, even though we have provided them with closure, many people are still unable to face the pain of their loss.

According to statements made by county leaders on Facebook, as many as 4,500 individuals are in need of a safe place to stay. These statements were supported by statistics obtained from the Pacific Disaster Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Within the Westin Maui near Kaanapali, where he works as a cook, J.P. Mayoga continues to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a regular basis. But instead of feeding hotel visitors, he has been providing food for the approximately 200 hotel staff and members of their families who were left living there since the devastating fire that occurred in the Lahaina neighborhood close to the south of the resort on Tuesday.

Both his home and his father’s home were spared in the fire. Lahaina is buried in poisonous debris; yet, his girlfriend, two small daughters, father, and another resident are all sleeping in a hotel bedroom together since it is better than Lahaina.

Maui freshwater officials have cautioned residents of Lahaina and Kula not to drink the flowing water, as it may be polluted even after being boiled, and to just take brief, tepid showers in rooms with enough ventilation to prevent the possibility of being exposed to chemical vapors.

Everyone has their own narrative, and everyone has suffered some kind of loss. In order for everyone to be able to be supportive of each other and have an understanding of what is currently going on in each other’s lives, he stated of his fellow employees at the hotel.